North American Studies Programme
The North American Studies Programme at St Antony's College was launched in 2011 as an initiative that seeks to examine the common problems and issues that transcend national boundaries in North America, the interrelationships among North American states and societies, and the relationship of the region to the wider world. Defining North America as the territory from the Arctic to the Isthmus of Panama and including the islands of the Caribbean, the Programme aims to study the continent in a way that is integrated and cohesive, crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing new insights into the similarities and differences that characterise the region.
The Programme has hosted a North American Studies Seminar Series at the College since 2011. These sessions examine a range of topics and issues relevant to North America in order to highlight the potential usefulness of studying the continent as a region that is bound together by geographic, political, cultural, and economic links and by a set of shared challenges and concerns. To view a copy of the Michaelmas Term 2013 programme of seminars please click here.
In March 2013, the North American Studies Programme hosted an international conference to examine the political economy of social policy in North America, asking to what extent the region is currently witnessing a process of convergence towards universalism in the provision of social services. At this gathering, the first of its kind organised by the Programme, a distinguished group of experts in the field of social policy examined the historical development and recent trends in the evolution of the region’s welfare states. In particular, the aim of the conference was to contribute to a well-informed discussion on the political economy of welfare regimes in North America by a) exploring welfare models in historical and comparative perspective, and b) by examining the political and institutional dynamics of recent developments in North America’s social policies.
The North American Studies Programme is proud to have been a co-sponsor of the 2013 Dahrendorf Colloquium at St Antony's College, held from 3-5 May, which examined the challenges of "Combining Freedom and Diversity: Lessons from Experience in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States." The conference explored and compared how major North American and European democracies have addressed the difficulty of incorporating immigrant and minority groups into their national political, social, and economic life. A report on conclusions from the conference that will be relevant for policymakers is to be released in the coming months. For more information, please visit the conference webpage.
On 26-27 September 2013, the Programme, in collaboration with Oxford's Rothermere American Institute, hosted a conference on "The Challenges of Governance in the North American Arctic: Past, Present, and Future." This conference examined how the governance of the Arctic region by the United States, Canada, and Denmark (as the sovereign power in Greenland) has been shaped by geography and historical factors, and by interactions with and between a diverse group of actors, including indigenous peoples, local authorities, external economic interests, foreign powers, and multilateral bodies. The project made original contributions to current discussions on Arctic issues by drawing attention to the importance of legacies from the region's past and by highlighting the significance of a distinctively North American perspective on the Arctic, shaped by the institutional context of federalisms that divide sovereignty and control over resources between national governments, local administrations, and indigenous authorities. Among the institutions financing the conference are the Rothermere American Institute, the New York Community Trust, the U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom, the Canadian High Commission in the United Kingdom, and the Lester B. Pearson Fund of the University of Oxford. Speakers included Shelagh Grant; Bill Graham, former Foreign Minister of Canada; Udloriak Hanson; William Iggiagruk Hensley; and John English.
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